Dooley leads the way as Lansdowne regain title after tight tussle
Lansdowne 19 Cork Constitution 17
Leinster prop Peter Dooley played a pivotal role as Lansdowne regained the Ulster Bank League Division 1A title in their final win over Cork Constitution and complete an All-Ireland League and Cup double.
Dooley carried in the lead up to Tyrone Moran's 61st-minute try, which proved to be the match-winning score at the Aviva Stadium after Cork Con's Tomas Quinlan had crucially missed a 67th-minute penalty attempt.
It was three penalties apiece from Quinlan and Scott Deasy at half-time before Brian Hayes cancelled out Deasy's fourth penalty with a try nearing the hour mark. But Lansdowne rumbled up the other end for hooker Moran to reply and Deasy's conversion remained the difference up to the final whistle.
Cork Con were first to settle, Quinlan knocking over a close-in penalty. Lansdowne then won the first scrum, building pressure before a couple of offsides allowed Deasy to kick his side level.
Flanker Joe McSwiney used a Luke Cahill turnover to carry strongly and tee up a second penalty from Quinlan. Con's Hayes, Evan Mintern, Ger Sweeney and McSwiney all punched holes before Dooley infringed and Quinlan's left boot made it 9-3.
Adam Leavy's run on a kick return got Lansdowne back on the front foot, and Mintern's hands in the ruck allowed Deasy to split the posts.
Lansdowne had the upper hand approaching the interval. Ian Fitzpatrick drew a tackle from Luke Cahill and Deasy landed his toughest kick to square things up. The second half was six minutes old when Lansdowne's scrum won a penalty, which Deasy drilled over to move them 12-9 in front.
Minutes later, Con were celebrating the final's first try with Hayes lunging over.
International Rugby Newsletter
Quinlan was just off target with the conversion, but Brian Hickey's charges enjoyed a purple patch, turning down a kickable penalty.
Quinlan nailed his fourth successful penalty to open up a 17-12 advantage.
That brought the best out of Lansdowne, captain Ian Prendiville tidying up a loose lineout and a great show of power from the pack, with Dooley batting off defenders, led to Moran spinning out of a tackle to ground the ball. His try was converted by Deasy.
Frustration was growing for Cork. Dooley's rip on Ger Sweeney gained turnover ball for Lansdowne.
Constitution had one final surge from deep in the dying seconds, but a knock-on from Daly signalled the end of their gritty title defence.
Lansdowne - E Mills, F Horan (I Fitzpatrick 31), H Brennan, M O'Keeffe, A Leavy; S Deasy, A Bennie (C Rock h-t), P Dooley, T Moran, I Prendiville (capt), J O'Rourke, J Dwan, J O'Sullivan, A Conneely, W Earle.
Cork Constitution - S Daly, L O'Connell, A McHenry, N Kenneally (capt), R Jermyn (JJ O'Neill 66), T Quinlan, J Higgins (G Hurley 67), B Quinlan (G Duffy 63), V O'Brien, G Sweeney (D Murphy 77), B Hayes, C Kindregan, E Mintern (R O'Neill h-t, (Mintern 77), J McSwiney, L Cahill.
Ref - David Wilkinson (IRFU).